10 Shocking Mistakes That Make Your Guinea Pig Hate You

If you’re a new guinea pig owner, then you’ve likely experienced the feeling that that your pet hates you. It hurts your feelings and it’s frustrating. But, we’ve all been there.

As a general rule, guinea pigs don’t hate their owners, but it might seem like they do. What you perceive as hate is usually your guinea pig displaying discomfort because of an illness or fear due to his prey animal instincts. Guinea pigs will think you’re a threat until they’re bonded with you.

Piggies need time to grow comfortable with you and learn to trust you. That way, they can relax and show their true personalities. However, many owners make mistakes when fostering this trust because they don’t recognize what triggers stress or fear from a guinea pig.

We’re going to explore 10 common mistakes that people make when caring for guinea pigs…so you can avoid making these same errors.

But, first let’s dive into why you think your piggie hates you…

Why Your Guinea Pig Seems to Hate You

So, the first thing to address here is that your piggie doesn’t hate you. They’re actually very loving and social creatures when you treat them right.

But, here’s the thing:

Most people have excellent skills in identifying emotions with people around them. Logically, most people take this interpersonal skill and use it to try to “read” their guinea pig’s emotions or telling whether or not your little friend is happy with you.

This is a bad idea…

7 secret guinea pig hacks

And let me tell you why:

  • It’s much easier to identify the feelings and gain the trust of people, because…well, you’re a person, too. And you understand what it’s like to be a person and how a person might react in certain situations.
  • You’re not a guinea pig, so you won’t easily or instinctively recognize what your guinea pig is feeling or why they feel that way.
  • There are many factors that can contribute to a lot of fear or anxiety in your little friend.
  • We often make mistakes recognizing how our fur babies feel because we associate human emotions with their actions.

There are many reasons that a person’s guinea pig may seem to hate them, but most of these have nothing to do with the owner at all. This means that you have to quit assuming your fur babies hate you and focus more on other, more sensible reasons for their response.

Fear and Anxiety Contribute to Your Guinea Pig’s Mood

Guinea pigs have evolved as prey animals for hundreds of years. They’re often on high alert and easily startled by new or loud noises, strange sights, sudden movement near them.

Behavior that makes it seem like your little buddies hate you is mainly just their survival instincts kicking in.

These instincts include running away from you, avoiding you, being wary of you, hiding when you are around, etc. These are all just your cavy’s survival instincts kicking in. That’s your fur baby’s using all those instincts to survive when they’re feeling scared and feel threatened.

Remember, they’re not viewing you as a benevolent friend that they can trust and relax around.

(At least not yet.)

They think you want to rip them apart and eat them.

(Yes, you!)

Your piggies need to feel safe with you before they can trust you. So give them time to adjust before freaking out that your guinea pig hates you!

There are things that you might be doing that can make your piggie even more anxious or scared of you.

You need to be aware of those mistakes if you want to successfully bond with your Guinea Pig. 

1. Chase Them When They Run From You

This is easily the biggest mistake I’ve seen pet parents make. You bring your little friend home for the first time, see all that fluffy, furry cuteness, and you immediately want to swoop up that piggie and declare your eternal love.

Big mistake.

More than likely, you’re piggie is going to bolt. Prey animal remember?

When you chase your guinea pig around the cage trying to get him or her into a hug, all they see is an angry predator bearing down on them. And it’s literally terrifying for small rodents. Your piggie will most likely run in fear and hide under anything she can find.

You’re frustrated. She’s about to have a heart attack. It’s just a bad situation.

Don’t spend half an hour darting after your piggie as she darts around the cage like a furry pinball. Instead do the following:

  • Give your piggie a few days to get used to her new environment without picking her up.
  • Try to feed her small veggie treats through her cage.
  • Remember that some piggies hate be picked up or cuddled. It’s just not their personality. Be ready to accept that fact, if it’s true for your new little friend.

2. Don’t Provide A Peaceful Environment

As mentioned before, guinea pigs are prey animals. So, they’re often on edge.

Certain things immediately scare your piggies. When they’re scared, they’re behavior will change in ways that’ll make you think “my guinea pigs hates me”.

Well, your piggies don’t hate you. They hate being stressed out.

Two things you should avoid are:

  • Loud Noises: In order to provide a comfortable, safe environment for guinea pigs, try using quiet voices and softer noises around them. Your fur babies can hear very well. That sense helps them know if something is nearby (like a predator) that wants to hurt them. Loud televisions, shrieking kids, and blasting music can scare pigs. Try to make a calm environment for your pigs.
  • Predators:  It is okay to have other pets besides your guinea pigs. But make sure that you keep them separate from your little friends because they are prey animals and they’ll likely see other pets as threats.  If you have cats or dogs in the house, make sure that they can’t get to your piggies. If they do then there’s a good chance those predators may end up hurting (or worse) your furry babies.

Try to make a calm environment for your pigs. In the end, it’s better for you and your piggy pals.

Related: The Truth About Guinea Pig Fear: Are They Naturally Scared?

3. Hold a Grudge For Getting Peed On

So your piggie peed on you.

Devastation! Your piggies hates you! It’s the end of your relationship!

Or is it?

If your piggie has an accident on you, he’s not doing it for revenge or because he hates you. Don’t take it personally.

Cavies are always peeing and pooping. It’s because they have a very high metabolism and are constantly on the move.

Pigs need to eat (constantly!) and then get rid of what they ate. The food moves through their stomach and intestines because of muscle contractions called peristalsis. That’s normal and healthy.

This process can’t ever stop. Cavies digestive systems need to always move or your piggie might get really sick.

He literally can’t hold it that long. Cavies poop (or pee) 150 to 200 times a day.

Bottom line?

Don’t get upset if your piggie pees on you. It doesn’t mean that your piggie hates you.

Related: How To Avoid Guinea Pig Pee (Everything You Need To Know)

4. Think That Everything Is About You

Some owners are convinced that they’re doing everything wrong and that that’s why their guinea pig hates them. But, that’s just not true.

Sometimes your interactions with your piggies don’t have anything to do with you. Is has to do with their life before you brought them home.

Let me explain.

If you’ve rescued your piggie from a terrible situation (e.g. a hoarding scenario, neglectful pet store), then it’s likely that they’ve had some trauma. That trauma breeds anxiety in guinea pigs.

A very bad experience with another human (or even another guinea pig) is likely to affect how your piggie behaves with you.

That trauma breeds anxiety in guinea pigs or can create an aggressive guinea pig.

You might notice even more skittish behavior like hiding and running. That’s normal under extreme circumstances. Time and patience is usually the best medicine for this situation.

5.Take Biting Personally

No one likes being bitten by their guinea pig. It startles you and it hurts. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your piggie hates you. Here are a few reasons why your piggie might be biting you.

  • Your hands smell like food. Cavies have sensitive noses! They can smell food on your hands. If you eat fruit, sweets, or treats, they might want to give your . Wash your hands before handing your guinea pig to eliminate any food smells and always make sure that your furry friend has enough to eat.
  • It’s time for a bathroom break. Piggies like to pee every 10-15 minutes. Nibbling is one of the signs that your pig wants to be put down.
  • Mishandling. Your pet needs to feel safe when you hold him. If he feels scared, he might bite you. Make sure that you always pick up your furry potato properly, by the tummy and bottom with both hands. And be gentle!

Related: 13 Simple Reasons Why Guinea Pigs Bite (+ Solutions)

6. Keep Them Alone

Ultimately, piggies are herd animals that need each other’s company.

When they don’t have that social interaction, they get stressed out and scared. Additionally, a pair of guinea pigs have has each other for support, which will help with their fears.

And stressed, terrified guinea pigs don’t want to cuddle and crawl all over you. They’ll want to run away and avoid you like a money launderer from the IRS.

There are some guinea pigs who are happier without another piggie in the house, but that’s rare.

If you only have one piggie, it’s likely that your little friend hates being alone. And your fur baby’ll probably have a better attitude with a friend.

Related: The Truth About Single Guinea Pigs (Is It Okay To Have Just One?)

7. Don’t Have Wellness Checks

It’s possible that your furry burrito is giving off “I hate you” vibes because your little friend is in pain or feels unwell.

If your guinea pig is in pain, then he’s not going to want to be bothered by you. He’s certainly not going to want to cuddle or play.

Be on the lookout for signs of pain or illness in your piggie.

Once again, it doesn’t mean that your pig hates you.  There’s just something wrong with your little friend.

Pain SignalsSickness Signals
wheeking, squealing cryingweight loss / lack of appetite
doesn’t want to movecrusty nose and eyes
shivering or quiveringdiarrhea
teeth gnashing and grindingdoesn’t want to move; hunched over
crusty nose and eyes

If you suspect that your pet is in pain or sick, have them examined by a vet as soon as possible.

8. No Quality Time

If your guinea pig is not yet familiar with you, he might show signs of wariness or fear.

He doesn’t hate you.

He just doesn’t realize that you’re not some lethal predator waiting to pounce. Guinea pigs are prey animals that need to feel safe with you before they’ll show their true personality.

The only way to change this is to build in quality time with your little piggies. If you have guinea pigs, set aside 10 to 15 minutes (at least) each day to spend with them.

That way they get used to you, your voice, your foot steps, etc.

Spending time with your piggies can include anything from setting up elaborate activities like obstacle courses and outdoors runs to just sitting next to their cage and chatting with them.

My suggestion is to keep it simple at first. But, hang out with them a couple of times a day.  

Just make sure you are spending quality time with your guinea pig so that they can relax and get to know you a little better.

9. You Yell At Your Piggies

Please, please, please…don’t yell at your guinea pigs.

Piggies don’t understand the word “no”. It’s beyond them, so…

Yelling and screaming won’t make your little friends hate you. But, it will make them terrified of you.

And that’s the last thing you want.

Think about it. Would you want to be buddy-buddy with someone who was screaming at you 24/7?  Screaming is no way to build a bond of trust.

So instead, try to be calm when talking with them or responding to their behaviors (even the negative ones). It’ll work wonders for your relationship.

10. Think Every Guinea Pig Is The Same

One of the most common misconceptions about guinea pigs is that they’re all the same. The truth is that each piggie is unique in their own way.

There are so many different personalities of guinea pigs. Some are outgoing and friendly; others are more anxious and shy.

Bottom line?

You have to meet with your fur babies where they are.

And it often takes time for piggies to warm up and show you who they really are. Be prepared with patience.

To avoid triggering the behaviors that make you think that they hate you, get to know them as individuals.

You’ve got to crawl into your guinea pig’s head and look at things from their perspective.

7 secret guinea pig hacks

Final Thoughts

Your piggies doesn’t hate you. I promise.

But, they are prey animals. So, they’re hardwired with survival instincts that make them afraid of humans.

Use the tips in this blog post to help you avoid mistakes that increase that fear. And even if you do (because nobody’s perfect), you can always readjust.  

Guinea pigs are wonderful, loving animals that have a lot of character to share if you give them the time to show it.  Give your little friends lots of time and patience to build a positive bond with them.

Remember that each guinea pig is an individual, so the process won’t always go perfectly.

Be patient with your piggie and yourself.

It’s worth it!

Caring for your Guinea pig | Tips on looking after Guinea pigs | Blue cross. (n.d.). Blue Cross. https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/caring-your-guinea-pig

DVM, S. L. (2015). The Guinea pig handbook. Barron’s Educational Series.

Fun tricks you can teach your Guinea pig. (n.d.). Vet Clinic Rapid City & Black Hills, SD | Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic. https://www.dakotahillsveterinary.com/rapid-city-vet-tricks-guinea-pig

Guinea lynx :: Pain. (n.d.). Guinea Lynx :: A Medical and Care Guide for Your Guinea Pig. https://www.guinealynx.info/pain.html

Guinea pig bonding basics. (n.d.). Animal Humane Society. https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/behavior/guinea-pig-bonding-basics

Guinea pig illness warning signs. (2020, October 1). Petfinder. https://www.petfinder.com/pet-care/small-and-furry-care/guinea-pig-basics-illness-warnings/

My pigs hate Me:(. (2014, February 10). The Guinea Pig Forum. https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/my-pigs-hate-me.111011/

Nutrient requirements of the Guinea pig – Nutrient requirements of laboratory animals – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK231932/

Similar Posts